By Alexey Sukachev
23-year old former amateur standout Jon-Lewis Dickinson (now 8-0, 2 KOs) became the most inexperienced champion in the history of Prizefighter series (so far) after the third-round stoppage of shock finalist Nick Okoth (9-28-5, 3 KOs). There were no doubts about the future winner as Dickinson, previously not known as a terrific puncher, started the bout with fire flooring Okoth with a short right hand and dominating him to a 10-8 in the initial round. In the second stanza Okoth did as much as he could but lost this period anyway. Finally, in round three Dickinson (5-0, no KOs at the starters) forced Okoth to take a knee two more times before the corner of his opponent threw in a towel at 1:08 of the third to crown Jon-Lewis Dickinson as a new Prizefighter cruiserweight champion.
WBC #3 and WBO #10 rated “Dancing Destroyer” Herbie Hide chose to withdraw from the tournament after suffering a bad cut over his forehead during his first-stage victory over Wayne Brooks. The prohibitive favorite of this Prizefighter tourney preferred not to risk his high ranking and made a difficult decision to quit.
Semi-final 2: Nick “The Ox” Okoth (9-27-5, 3 KOs), the first ever (in Prizefighter history) and literally the last minute substitute, scored the victory of a lifetime by cruising to a unanimous decision over Darren Corbett (29-6, 16 KOs) and becoming a sensational second finalist of the tournament. All three judges scored it 29-28 (as did Fightnews) for less masterful but far hungrier fighter in Okoth. The Ox will now face Jon-Lewis Dickinson in a rematch of his May 2009 loss in the final of Prizefighter.
Semi-final 1: Jon-Lewis Dickinson (now 7-0, 1 KO) scored his first career knockout with an impressive stoppage of veteran Mark Krence (25-8, 6 KOs) and moved up to the finals. Dickinson looked like a new favorite of the tournament, badly rocking Krence with a right hand on the first minute of the round, dropping him twice during the second and the third minutes of the stanza also with short right hands and shaking him terribly at the end of the first period. Krence’s corner threw in towel immediately after the bell to end the first round.
“The Dancing Destroyer” Herbie Hide (49-4, 43 KOs), an overwhelming favorite to win this Prizefighter, started the tourney in a dramatic fashion. After the first round, which saw his opponent Wayne Brooks (5-3-2, 2 KOs) on the floor after a huge right hand, Hide suffered a bad cut over his forehead after an accidental headbutt in round two. Sensing the fight can be stopped to a major upset at any second, Hide went after Brooks and tried to get the rid of the brave Welshman but got no success. Brooks kept taking punches and fighting back in the third round as well; yet, the Nigerian native was close to score a stoppage but failed to achieve the anticipated result. After three rounds of action, judges gave it to Hide – 30-25 (twice) and 30-26. Fightnews also had it 30-26 – for former two-time WBO heavyweight champion, who showed considerable signs of decline in this fight.
Former cruiserweight contender and now 37-year old out-of-shape, faded veteran Darren Corbett (29-5-1, 16 KOs) decisioned journeyman John Anthony (7-12, 5 KOs) over three horrible rounds which involved more holding and clinching than boxing to advance into the second semifinal. Scores were unanimous for Belfast-native 30-27 on all judges’ scorecards. Fightnews saw it 29-28 scoring the second round for a slightly more active Anthony.
Jon-Lewis Dickinson (now 6-0, no KOs) advanced into the semifinal to clash against Mark Krence after a split decision over hard-charging banger Leon Williams (4-2, 2 KOs). Taller, smoother Dickinson dominated his rugged opponent with exact jabs and wise stick-and-move tactics. However, Williams found some moments too with his wicked left hook, thrown from the distance on his way in. Scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29 – for Dickinson. Fightnews had it 30-29 – also in his favor.
Ex-heavyweight Mark Krence (25-7, 6 KOs) kicked off the next Prizefighter tourney (now at cruiserweight limit) with a convincing three-round decision over Pakistan native Zahid Kahut (4-2). Kahut, looking a total newbie there, was dropped in round one after a barrage of Krence’s punches but somehow survived till the final bell. Scores were 30-26 (twice) and 30-27 – for Krence. Fightnews also had it 30-26.